By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
INGOMAR – Tyler Dowdy’s arm is just fine.
The junior left-hander for Ingomar missed several weeks after breaking his right arm earlier in the season and has returned from his injury with a vengeance.
On Thursday, Dowdy tossed a complete-game no-hitter against Smithville to lead the Falcons to a 4-0 win in the opening match of their second-round MHSAA Class 1A baseball series.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but they backed me up in the field,” said Dowdy, who struck out eight and gave up only three bases on balls. “When I broke my arm, I wanted to be back for playoffs and I’ve been working hard.”
The closest the Seminoles (12-15) came to a hit was in the seventh, when Brady Thompson sent a grounder to shortstop and reached safely after the putout was jumbled.
“He is the best 1A pitcher that we’ve seen,” said first-year Smithville coach Steve Kerr, whose squad was also shutout 5-0 by the pre-injury Dowdy on Feb. 24. “We’ve seen a bunch of pitchers, and he is, by far. He had his curveball working. He was just dominating against us.”
Dowdy (5-0) worked out of a tight spot in the fourth. After walking two, he ended the inning with his third strikeout. Smithville had runners in the sixth and seventh, but was unable to advance them past first base.
“Dowdy tonight was unbelievable,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “He pitched with a lot of confidence and that’s what you have to do to be a good pitcher.”
Smithville’s Landon Carter (3-4) also pitched a complete game, and held Ingomar (20-6) scoreless through three innings. The Falcons got on the board in the fourth when Stephen Laird led off with a single off the center field wall and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brady Cox. Austin Sanders and Chance Maxey later came in on a bloop single to right by Dylan Speck.
Dowdy added a run in the fifth after leading off with a double to right center and scoring when Joseph Broom’s grounder to second was misplayed.
Carter, the lone senior on Seminoles’ roster, said tonight’s Game 2 back in Smithville – on the one-year anniversary of the tornado that devastated the town – is important to the team and the community.